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Instant-soup burns send nearly 10,000 kids to ER yearly

A woman in ER scrubs wraps gauze around a little boy’s arm.

Dec. 5, 2018—Instant soups and noodles that you pop into a microwave are certainly convenient. But they're to blame for at least 1 out of 5 scald burns that send U.S. kids to hospital ERs, a new study shows. That's nearly 10,000 visits every year for kids ages 4 to 12.

Researchers looked at data from 2006 to 2016. The peak age for burns was 7. The torso was the most commonly scalded part of the body. And nearly 60 percent of the burned children were girls.

Instant soups and noodles may seem easy to prepare by just adding water and then microwaving them. But once heated, they're a dangerous burn risk because they're easy to spill, the researchers cautioned.

Parents and caregivers need to closely supervise younger children when they're using a microwave. It's also important to make sure young children can't reach a microwave on their own. Microwave safety is often overlooked because these ovens aren't viewed as dangerous, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The researchers presented their findings at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition.

They called on the food industry to make changes to packaging—for example, to make instant soup harder to tip over.

Burn first aid

If your child—or anyone—has a minor burn, follow these three steps from the American College of Emergency Physicians:

  1. Remove any burned clothing, unless it's imbedded in the burn.
  2. Run cool—not cold—water over the burn. (Alternatively, hold a clean, cold compress on it until the pain subsides.) Don't use ice, butter or any grease.
  3. Remove jewelry or tight clothing from around the burned area and apply a clean bandage. You can also apply an antibiotic cream.

Seek emergency care for more serious burns and for any burn to the eyes, mouth, hands or genital areas, even if mild. If the burn covers a large area, get medical attention immediately.

First aid essentials

A minor burn might send you to your emergency first aid kit at home. Do you have one? Here's what a good emergency first aid kit should contain :

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